Anime Expo 2013 - The Post Con Roundup
Wow, another year gone, where does the time go? I will apologize in advance for not being able to archive daily posts for Anime Expo this year, but things were so much more hectic. I will personally detail statistics later on, but let's start this ridiculously long post for now!
This year's expo should have been dubbed the "Line Expo". Apologies in advance for some of the blurry photos, I'm only starting to learn how to use a DSLR. Hopefully I get better as I go with that one!
So the day that everyone attends to receive their badge prior to the event's opening was unbelievably packed this year. Not wanting to wait for 3+ hours in the hot Californian sun again this year, my friends and I opted to wait until later on to grab tickets, as there was no line at the time last year. Boy, were we given a shock this year. After nabbing some dinner at a pub-like place with some friends, we went back to find that the line was actually just as long as it should be in the afternoon! Since the staff were set on closing the line down at 9 PM, we had no choice but to give up on that attempt.
So Day 1 naturally started early, where we came down to actually get a badge. Afterwards, I met up with Marina (check out her tasty blog!) and we ran down to get into the waiting line for the exhibit hall. Straight into the fire from then on, I got into the MASSIVE line for the Good Smile Company booth for a special Madoka nendoroid. Let's just say, that line ran for 3 hours before I got to the front, but since it was a unique Madoka for $40, it was worth it. After perusing the wares for a while, we got into another line to gain admittance to the panel featuring huke, Good Smile Company, Ultra Super Pictures and Max Factory. It was basically a simple Q&A panel, but huke-san spent the entire time drawing a Black Rock Shooter style piece from scratch, which was awesome to see. We then proceeded to leave the convention for the night to grab ridiculous amounts of fries from a little place called The Hat. American cuisine, let me tell you. Compared to Canadian sizes, your portions are terrifying.
Easily the busiest day for me, but I would argue that Day 3 came quite close. The day started early once again as I went to the Culture Japan panel by Mr. Danny Choo once again for some words of inspiration and an autograph. It was quite unfortunate that Megumi Han, Mari Okada, Nobuhiro Kikuchi and Porno Graffitti's panels were all scrunched together at around this time, and seeing the lines for these after finishing the Culture Japan panel, I had to accept my losses. I had to get to the autograph booths, but more on that lengthiness later. 4 PM was Studio Trigger's Little Witch Academia screening, followed by a panel hosted by Megumi Han and Masahiko Otsuka. What was also announced was that the cutesy and lovably awesome short original would receive a second episode!
[Aside] Since the original was funded by the Anime Mirai 2013 project, they are requested some help from fans on their Kickstarter. Although they have reached their initial goal of $150,000, please support them if you haven't already, as funding simply means we'll receive better quality along with a nice and lengthy episode.
It's at this point I'll mention that my friends at the con were absolutely fantastic in assisting me have a great time along with them. While we went off to the Academia screening, others stood behind in the Noizi Ito lineup. As such, we all made it into the panel despite the ridiculously long lineup. Thanks, everyone!
[Aside] The Noizi Ito panel was actually disappointing, I'm sad to say. The entire panel was just a Q&A from start to finish, and the microphone was turned down so low that it was a struggle to hear the questions. Of the questions we could hear, they were rather generic, plus the translator looked like she was severely struggling to explain the entire statement back and forth, resulting in confusion everywhere. Luckily, my Japanese was decent enough to transpose the answers from Ito-san.
After the panel we left once more for some tasty Japanese nom-noms at a little place that was surprisingly playing a tune I recognized- the opening theme to Tales of Graces.
Day 3 was to begin with George Wada's Attack on Titan panel, but thanks to the long lineups for autographs as well as the fact it was last chance for many, I had to pass that opportunity by, along with the Production I.G.'s panel. There was also the fact that I lined up huke-san's autograph, which took a decent chunk of time. As I was forced to miss IG's panel, I lined up for Makoto Shinkai's Kotonoha no Niwa reception.
[Aside] The line was ridiculously long and I barely made it in before the cutoff. The line inside the lounge also moved at a sluggish pace, but the Sentai Filmworks staff that hosted the event were constantly moving about, giving out drinks and free gifts keeping everyone satisfied. Buying a Kotonoha no Niwa blu-ray from the booth, I walked up to meet with the creative man himself, Makoto Shinkai. Wielding quite a decent grasp on the proper English accentuation and a smooth presence, Shinkai sincerely thanked me for watching his productions and offered an autograph as well as a photo.
By the time I received the autograph, I was already a good 15 minutes late for the Porno Graffitti concert. I even ended up half lost on my way to the exact entrance to the Nokia Theatre and thought I had seriously screwed myself. Luckily, many others were in the same predicament from other events, and Porno Graffitti had decided to extend the concert by a good hour.
Porno Graffitti was the very first J-Rock band I ever heard, so nostalgia hit right when they started playing 'Melissa' from Fullmetal Alchemist. They also played 'Music Hour', 'Agehacho', 'Winding Road', 'Anima Rossa', 'Apollo', 'Hitori no Yoru' (from Great Teacher Onizuka) as well as a few songs I hadn't heard before. As for the band itself, what a source of positive energy. Their music alone would be enough to energize the crowd, but they had so many ways to get the people involved and have a great time. From swinging sports towels (or in my case, my pass) to clapping to swinging arms about, it was a wild party. At the beginning, I was so worn out from running about that I sat down and enjoyed the show, but by the end, I was up and ruining my voice and arms in excitement. Still worth it.
The concert ended late and we headed off for some good ol' Chinese food. I'll mention right now that my area barely has any good Asian food, so eating around during my stay was oh-so-sweet.
Shopping day! Okay, so the act of buying as many nendoroids as I could for the last day is so everlastingly satisfying, but my entire convention built up to the "Meet the Guests Breakfast". After indulging in a little bit of quality breakfast food, we were given 10 minute windows of opportunity to sit down and talk with the guests who had showed up for the event. More about that in the highlights section below though, friends.
During this time, my friends had gone to Makoto Shinkai's official panel, and their consensus was that Shinkai was a smooth operator running a well oiled panel- just as I thought!
So yes, I ran about the exhibit hall for the rest of my time at the convention, trying to cut deals down on nendoroids that I could take home with me. In the end, I bought up four more nendoroids in a heartbeat and cashed out before I was to lose more money.
My friends and I spent the remainder of Day 4 grabbing a bite to eat at a food court, followed by blowing a little bit more money at an arcade called Round 1. All I can say is...why the heck don't I have a DJMax Audio Technika machine in my house? Oh that's right, the ridiculously loud subwoofers attached to the machine.
Yes, I had an extra day to stay in California, since classes weren't set to start again until the 9th. It was good to have this additional day to spend grabbing some delicious Korean BBQ with my grandfather, as well as getting to play tennis again with people who knew how to play.
The rest of my time was spent sitting in the airport learning that my plane home was still awaiting arrival. After a few delays (especially the one where I was stopped by customs and had all of my merch searched), I got home late at around midnight. Can anyone say "please, no school in the morning!"?
Autographs last year were basically first come, first serve. While the idea is similar this year around, guests were required to line up early to collect "placeholder tickets" to guarantee a spot in the lineup for autographs. Lining up at the booth meant you received a ticket for the standby line. Attending a guest's panel meant you got a priority line ticket, and winning the raffle at said panel meant you got a voucher to get first rights to the line overall. Photographs were strictly prohibited in most of the lines, so the photos I do have are from the booths which did allow them, aside from the autographs away from the actual booth area.
[Aside] I will point out that I waited fully in line for Megumi Han's autograph and was cut off, and while I wanted George Wada's autograph, one glance at the ludicrously long line unfortunately pointed me away. Considering the number of guests and the number of autographs I ended up coming home with however, I cannot complain in any way.
Lots of cosplayers on the floor this year, not enough free time to grab photos! To those of you who offered your time for photos, many thanks, and great work.
With that, another year of Anime Expo comes to an end. I look forward to seeing how anime changes in 2014 and what new fads will follow at that year's convention.